(Belfast, ME) Calling all armchair travelers, artists, trivia experts, U.S. history buffs, and fans of printed maps from the past! Left Bank Books in Belfast is delighted to welcome Dr. Stephen Hornsby, author of the just-published Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps (University of Chicago Press) on Wednesday, May 3 at 7:00 pm. The public is warmly invited to attend what will be an exceedingly delightful, enlightening and entertaining presentation.

More on Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps

The New York Times has called The Golden Age a “beautifully illustrated book that documents the ‘golden age’ of pictorial maps, from the 1920s to the 1970s. It includes the playful (distorted views of the country from the perspective of New Yorkers, Texans, and Californians); the obscure (a map of volunteer fire departments in Philadelphia, circa 1792, commissioned and drawn in 1938); and more of the obscure (a map of Michigan bakeries).

Picturing America is the first book of its kind to showcase this vivid and popular genre of maps. Hornsby has gathered 158 delightful pictorial jewels, most drawn from the extensive collections of the Library of Congress. Organized into six thematic sections, his book covers a vast swath of the pictorial map tradition, ranging from “Maps to Amuse” to “Maps for War.” Hornsby has unearthed the most fascinating and visually striking maps the United States has to offer: Disney cartoon maps, college campus maps, kooky state tourism ads, WWII promotional posters, and many more.

Dr. Hornsby’s love of pictorial maps dates from his childhood, when his family lived in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). “My mother, a teacher, had a map of Ceylon drawn by the influential British graphic artist MacDonald Gill. It is lavishly illustrated with drawings of leopards, elephants, and other animals. Battered from use, the map remains one of my treasured cartographic possessions.”

In addition to the hundreds of full-color images that are irresistible, Dr. Hornsby provides invaluable commentary, tracing the rise and fall of pictorial mapping – “In a sense they reflect the emergence of the United States as a world power,” he says. “The U.S. economy was revving up [in the ‘20s] and you have lots of money for advertising coming from commerce and industry.”

About Stephen Hornsby

Dr. Hornsby is Director of the Canadian-American Center and Professor of Geography and Canadian Studies at the University of Maine. Originally from southern England, Hornsby received his M.A. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. He has authored and co-edited several prize-winning books, including the Historical Atlas of Maine (2015), which won the Globe Award from the American Association of Geographers. His current research is focused on Maine and deals with ship owners, the antebellum cotton trade, and the making of the state’s port towns.

Event Information

To reserve a seat for this free event please call 207-338-9009 or email [email protected]. Left Bank Books is located at 109 Church Street in the historic Opera House block (across from the police station) in downtown Belfast. Ample on-street parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent parking lot.

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